Monday, June 1, 2009

Astro microbiology

Do you know anything about astro microbiology could you please post a comment that tells a little of what you know about it. I'm curious. Thanks!

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I just went for a hike at the Sedgwick Reserve. I got to learn about geology there. There are three main groups of rocks. These groups are called igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary. All of these rocks are made in different ways. Igneous rocks are made by volcanoes. So in that group you can find rocks like granite and pumice. Metamorphic rocks are made by being compressed and heated over and over underground. The sedimentary rocks I find kind of boring because they are made by stuff like sand washing up on top of itself over and over again over millions of years. It includes rocks like sandstone and limestone.

One really interesting type of sedimentary rock is called radiolarion chert. Radiolarion chert starts out as an amoeboid protozoa called radiolarion or in latin radiolaria. They are made out of silica, and when they die they turn into a nasty oozey stuff. After millions of years they harden and turn into radiolarion chert.

Rocks are made of elements and minerals. An element is a type of atom such as magnesium. Atom means unbreakable so they are the smallest pieces of matter. But even atoms are made up of other things such as protons, neutrons and electrons. Some rocks can be made of pure elements like gold or silver. A mineral though, can be made up of more than one type of element like serpentine. A rock is a giant mess of minerals and elements. A few of the main elements in rocks are silica, magnesium, carbon, oxygen, and calcium. So elements make minerals and minerals make rocks.

I got to interview a geologist. Her name is Susie Bartz. Susie Bartz wanted to learn about rocks because she didn't know what she was walking on. She looked at rocks, walked on rocks, and then went to Santa Barbara City College. Her favorite rock is monterey shale (sedimentary). She told me a very rare type of rock is called an eclogite. Eclogites are metamorphic and form in the Earth's mantle. They are very dense. Geology is very interesting.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Mat's Pies

Here's a story I recently wrote I hope you like it. Sorry about no pictures.

Mat's Pies

At first glance anyone could see that Mat was an unusual porcupine. The first thing was he was green, and second, he wandered around the forest speaking gibberish and stealing the inhabitants’ pies. Other than that (and his quiche making abilities -which you don’t want to know about) he was quite nice to know. Sadly though, he had a nasty habit of wandering into the freeway and wreaking much havoc. Luckily he always survived. But once…
The Freeway
Mat waddled across the freeway, Granma Rabbit’s pie in mouth, green spines rattling. He wondered if the milk truck would crash again as cars careened and bounced off the freeway and into the forest. Beds bounced out of a U-Haul almost crushing Mat. Mat, not noticing, waddled on. But the freeway was big and Mat was getting tired. He decided he would stop in the middle, for that was much more convenient than getting to the other side. But just as Mat had settled down, he heard a loud skidding sound and POP! A truck had almost flattened him and now one of his spines was missing! Mat turned around to see the broken zoo truck. A tiger was walking around the freeway (it must have come from the zoo truck), and people were screaming! Suddenly Mat was clubbed on the head. The last thing he saw was a man in a black suit picking him up and putting him in a garbage bag.
The Zoo
Mat woke up in a large glass cage. Looking up, he noticed another porcupine speaking to him.
“Oh good!” said the porcupine.” My name’s Frederick! What’s yours?”
“What?” Frederick looked at him confused.
“Quit mumbling!” ordered Fredrick. “Speak English!”
“Sklgbrkd!” Why didn’t he understand? “Sklgbrkd! Sklgbrkd! Sklgbrkd!”
Fredrick looked at Mat strangely. “Oh I didn’t know that you speak gibberish! I’m sorry. Gibberish speakers are not allowed in the tribe.”
Mat looked at him with his best Bambi eyes.
“Bambi eyes do not move me,” said Fredrick sternly. “I am a cruel and coldhearted fiend! Now go and sit in that corner!”
Mat sadly waddled over to the corner, sat down, and began to wonder how many pies there were here.
The Wait and the Dash
Mat sat there for the rest of the day while the porcupines seemed to be getting ready for something special. Mat didn’t think that there was anything special going on until he saw the procession. There were 30 or so porcupines walking on their hind legs, wearing little aprons, and best of all each porcupine had 20 pies balanced on his head! They were carrying the pies to a giant table that hundreds of porcupines were sitting around.
Mat dashed towards the table as fast as his little legs could carry him. He jumped high into the air, blocking out the moon, drool sliding out of his mouth. His saliva dripped down unceremoniously as he landed smack dab onto the head of the leader of the procession, knocking him down. Mat picked himself up from a pile of dazed porcupines and quickly gathered as many pies as he could onto his back, hoping he would go unnoticed.

Bob was the zookeeper for the porcupine exhibit. Earlier just that day the zoo had gotten a new porcupine, which must have been a new species (or had fallen into a pile of nuclear waste) because it was green. The naturalist at the zoo thought it was a new species and called it a Green Porcupinopolis. Personally Bob thought it had fallen into a pile of nuclear waste, but that was probably because he had read too many comic books when he was a child. Bob’s last assignment for the day was to check on how the new porcupine (Green Porcupinopolis) was getting on -then he could go home. Bob’s boots crunched on the leaves as he walked toward the porcupine exhibit.
The Chase
Sadly Mat did not go unnoticed, as he had wished, for he was being chased by an angry mob of angry porcupines with pitchforks and torches. Now an angry mob of angry porcupines with pitchforks and torches may not sound too dangerous to you, but actually it is about as dangerous as a fire breathing dragon, black hole, and an atomic bomb all put together. Mat was going to die at the hands of an angry mob!
Bob Again
Bob saw some torchlight coming from the porcupine exhibit. “I wonder what’s going on in there?” he thought.
Mat was running at top speed when he was taken by surprise by a giant human. Mat shrunk back. He was trapped -all the more likely to die now, either at the hands of the human or at the hands of the angry mob. Then he saw an open door. This door could be his ticket to safety! All Mat had to do was to run through the human’s legs, out the door, and to safety. Mat let out a scream and ran.
Bob walked into the porcupine exhibit only to see all the porcupines chasing the new one (Green Porcupinopolis) who was carrying 20 or so pies on his back.
“What strange behavior!” he thought. “It is just amazing!” But he was quickly awakened from his thoughts as he heard a scream. The new porcupine was running through his legs. Bob turned around to see that the door was open and the porcupine was running across the sidewalk and into the night. Bob knew he would be fired for this.
The End
Mat ran across the sidewalk, leaves crunching underfoot, giggling contentedly with his pies. He kept on running and giggling until at long last he was back in the forest. He sat down to eat his pies, never to cross the freeway again -or at least not for another week.
The End

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Botanic Gardens

A while ago I went to the Botanic Gardens. It is a very cool place and it also has some fun history. The first one is an old dam. The dam was made in 1807 by the Chumash Indians and was supervised by Spanish priests. Next to that is a small aqueduct which takes water to the mission nearby. The other thing is a really old dead tree trunk. It was chopped down in the 80s and was alive for I think 855 years. The Botanic Gardens is also a very pretty place. it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Encore du lait

A while ago me and my sister made this song so here it is. P.S. Encore du lait means more milk in french.P.P.S. We got the idea for this song from a friend who once went to France and the only thing he said to people was Encore du lait.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Hunt for the Pacific Mole Crab

Today I went to Goleta beach and I thought, "Hey! I can look for Pacific mole crabs!" So I made a 2' by 2' grid to dig in and brought some other stuff and off we went. I decided that I would dig in four spots which I call wet, medium dry, dry, and yucky (which is because I was in the slough -slough of poo as I call it). Here is what I found: Wet: 1 shell thing. Medium dry: 1 worm eaten rock, another rock, 1 piece of seaweed, 1 piece of kelp, and 1 half of a seashell. Dry: nothing! Yucky: nothing! Obviously. It was slough poo! So I did not find any Pacific Mole Crabs. Later on I learned That the Pacific Mole crabs are not in Goleta at this time of year they are down south swept up by the Longshore current. Some fishermen had caught 3 surf perch and were going for more. As one said, "I'll catch 10 more in the next hour." There were lots of birds. There also were 1 or 2 dead brown pelicans, a dead sea lion, and some trash. Other than that it was nice. Here Is a slide show of the beach.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sir Ghillean Prance

Just recently I have had the pleasure of meeting the world famous Botanist Sir Ghillean Prance. He is a very nice man and my Mom told me I should Interview him and write something up so I did.
Sir Ghillean Prance likes the Amazon region very much-especially the areas that are undiscovered. He has discovered about 450 plants from mainly the Amazon region and also has many named after him. He has not discovered any carnivorous plant but He has seen a plant in tropical Asia that is shaped like a pitcher and can eat frogs. He also has discovered beetles that help pollinate the Amazon water lily.
The Amazon water lily has a very interesting relationship with this beetle (and another type of beetle). When the flower of the water lily opens the beetle will go in attracted to fragrance and will stay inside for around 24 hours. At the end of that time it will come out covered in pollen and do the same to other water lily flowers cross pollinating them.
Sir Ghillean also likes to study the indigenous peoples of the Amazon because they live their lives totally based on plants. They make everything they need from plants.
Sir Ghillean loved plants when he was a boy. He would look plants up in a book to figure out what they were. He decided he wanted to be a botanist when he was 10 or 11.
He has not discovered any plants with medicinal uses but he does try to get plants used locally in the Amazon region for example: when the animami tribe was sick with malaria he helped teach them about what other tribes did with plants to help. So there you have Sir Ghillean Prance.